Wonhyoro Catholic Church and Yongsan Seminary

Just a 10 minute walk from the Yongsan Electronics Market, on the campus of Sacred Heart Girls High School (Seongsim Yeogo), is one of Seoul’s hidden treasures, the Yongsan Seminary and Wonhyoro Catholic Church.

Wonhyoro Catholic Church

Wonhyoro Catholic Church

The church itself isn’t big—it’s little more than a chapel built for the former seminary next door. But it sits on the slope of a hill overlooking Yongsan (and the nearby Danggogae Martyrs Shrine), so it leaves a more majestic impression. The church, said to have been designed by Father Eugene Coste of the Paris Foreign Missions Society, was completed in 1902 (after Coste’s death), making it one of the oldest churches in the country.

Door, Wonhyoro Catholic Church

Wonhyoro Catholic Church

Wonhyoro Catholic Church Wonhyoro Catholic Church

The interior is really worth seeing. It’s small, of course, but it’s old, and feels it. Really nice vibe.  Interestingly, Korea’s first priest, Father Kim Dae-geun, was buried here until 1942.

Interior, Wonhyoro Catholic Church

Interior, Wonhyoro Catholic Church

Pews, Wonhyoro Catholic Church Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, Wonhyoro Catholic Church

Next to the church is the old Yongsan Seminary. Completed in 1892 and designed by Father Coste, the handsome Georgian-style structure is one of Korea’s earliest examples of Western architecture. The seminary moved to Hyehwa-dong in 1928, and the building became a rest facility for priests. In 1956, it was taken over by the Society of the Sacred Heart, who to this day run the girls school on whose campus the old seminary stands. It’s now a museum (and was undergoing repairs when I visited, so I couldn’t look inside).

Yongsan Seminary

Yongsan Seminary

Lots of flowers about, of course.

Cherry blossoms, Yongsan Seminary

Cherry blossoms, Yongsan Seminary

Flowers, Wonhyoro Catholic Church

White azaleas, Wonhyoro Catholic Church

Like I said, the church and seminary are no more than a 10-minute walk from Yongsan Electronics Market, so if you’re in the area, it’s more than worth a visit.

  • http://orientem.blogspot.com/ The Western Confucian

    Beautiful. Thank you again for these posts.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Happy to write ’em.

  • dogbertt

    Thanks very much. I’m _really_ looking forward to your book.

  • http://orientem.blogspot.com/ The Western Confucian

    The stained-glass windows appear to be new, but tasteful.

  • http://21cseonbi.blogspot.com sewing

    The church looks like a cathedral in miniature. Great floral shots, too–I could almost smell the lilies (?) in the last pic!

  • Sonagi

    Thanks for more lovely photos. Koreans and Japanese definitely excel at seasonal landscaping. There’s always something colorful from the end of March until the end of November.

  • dlatn

    jeez, you like these steeple of imperialism, don’t you

  • stevekim

    Is the sky being photoshopped? I have not been to Korea since 2001 and I don’t remember the sky ever being that clear/blue. The sky was a gray/brown haze everyday when I was there …

  • http://www.san-shin.org sanshinseon

    It was that clear/blue all this past weekend!
    I took lovely azure-sky shots at Bukhan-san NP…
    Happens often enuff — Seoul’s air is much better than before.

  • http://21cseonbi.blogspot.com sewing

    “Is the sky being photoshopped?”

    Ha ha ha!

    I remember on my first trip to Seoul in 1997, the first day I was there, it was hazy with that disctinctive rotten-egg smell (or however it should be described) in the air—I didn’t let it get me down, though, and I still loved my brief time there. On my way back to Canada, when I passed through Seoul, there had been a rainshower (it was at the beginning of the jangma season) and the sky was blue—quite a difference it was!

    On all my various trips to Seoul since then, I have never seen it quite so bad as that first time. On the other hand, the sky has often seemed noticeably bluer in the Provinces.

  • http://orientem.blogspot.com/ The Western Confucian

    Re: “steeple of imperialism”

    It should be remembered that Korea, perhaps unique in Church history, self-evangelized.

    Saint Kim Dae-geon brought the Faith back from China.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Don’t feed the troll, Joshua.

  • http://orientem.blogspot.com/ The Western Confucian

    Thanks for the reminder, Robert. I often forget that cardinal rule.

  • http://www.eye4insanity.blogspot.com Eye4Insanity

    Have you ever been to the St.John’s Cathedral in Bundang? I made a trip there last week end, lot’s of interesting things to look at, well worth the visit.

  • http://nathanbauman.com/odysseus NathanB

    Absolutely stunning photographs, Robert. I’m very glad you also took the time to go inside the churches and take pictures there.

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